The Minnesota Vikings rarely follow a good season with another successful campaign. After making the conference title game, they now have to deal with their entire roster of quarterbacks – Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford hitting free agency.
No wonder the team is being linked to Kirk Cousins, who has also been mentioned in regards to the New York Jets. Considering the team’s recent histories, heading to Minneapolis is a much better choice. But that’s not the issue here.
After a breakout season as a starter (weird to have those when you’re just before birthday number 30), Keenum is becoming a free agent at the right time. Not a lot of teams need starting quarterbacks, but it’s never bad to attract bids with the 7th best passer rating and 9th best adjusted net yards per completion. Keenum went 11-3 as a starter, completing 67.6% of his throws, including 22 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, while posting a career best 98.3 passer rating.
But Keenum looked bad in the NFC title game, hence the Vikings not too enthused about giving him the franchise tag. That means paying him around $23 million for a one-year deal, which is a figure he isn’t likely to get on a long term deal from anyone. The Vikings have cap space to work with – about $49 million. However, they don’t intend that Keenum, probably not perceived as someone who is good enough to take them over the hump, eat up so much of that money.
The problem is there is no plan B. Teddy Bridgewater returned to the field in 2017, but appeared just once, attempted two passes, didn’t complete any of them, including one of them becoming an interception; he’s a free agent. And Sam Bradford? He’s hitting free agency. He did play twice last season and didn’t look half bad, but he wants to start, and the Vikings probably have other plans, for now.
So what happens? Cousins as a starter, Bridgewater as a backup. Not a bad sounding plan – Bridgewater has zero demand. Cousins has plenty of it. And the Vikings need to beat the competition to get him.